“The heart is the place where we live our passions. It is frail and easily broken, but wonderfully resilient. There is no point in trying to deceive the heart. It depends upon our honesty for its survival.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

This month at Sunshine Yoga, we’re encouraging our fellow yogis to cultivate a sense of loving kindness with our ‘May The Love Be With You‘ social media challenge. In order to create this positive vibe, we’re exploring heart opening poses by focusing on the heart chakra.

What is a chakra anyways?

As most of you probably know, chakras (most simply put) are points in the energy system that are linked to specific areas of the body and have different physical and non-physical properties. Chakras can either be opened or closed or in other words can either facilitate or obstruct the flow of energy. Opening the chakras is one of the goals of a regular yoga practice and is why most people report feeling energised or restored after a yoga session.

So what is the heart chakra?

The heart chakra is the fourth major chakra in a sequence of seven and as such serves as the centre chakra that connects the physical energy of the lower chakras with the spiritual energy of the higher chakras. Appropriately, this central chakra is located in the centre of the chest. Opening the heart chakra can create a senses of balance between the physical body and mind.

What are the spiritual/non-physical benefits?

The heart chakra is also known as the anahata chakra, which can be literally translated as ‘unstuck’ or ‘unhurt’. An open anahata chakra allows us to flow with love and compassion, quickly forgive, and cultivate a sense of acceptance both for ourselves and others. An open heart chakra allows us to be trusting, compassionate, forgiving, hopeful, and emotionally empowered. While love is normally associated with romance, the heart chakra cultivates a type of love that is closer to kindness and positivity. This positive energy allows us to connect with those around us both physically and emotionally. When this chakra is closed, we may feel insecure, isolated, or emotionally unstable. Balancing this chakra is extremely essential for establishing a healthy relationship both with ourselves and those around us.

Are there any physical benefits?

Opening the heart chakra also has many physical benefits. It is believed that people with a blocked heart chakra often suffer from physical problems such as weight problems, heart problems, allergies, and asthma. To correct these problems and open this chakra, yoga poses focus on the areas of the physical body connected to the heart chakra: the heart, cardiac plexus, thymus glands, lungs, breasts, lymphatic system, shoulders, and ribs. As such, these poses often include backbends such as camel pose. Backbends are great for strengthening both lower and upper back muscles, stretching the chest, and improving flexibility within the back muscles. Other yoga poses that open the heart chakra include shoulder openers, passive chest openers, and arm positions. These poses can also help to improve blood circulation; tone organs in the lower abdomen, digest organs, urinary and reproductive organs; and help relieve stress and fatigue.

Open Your Heart Chakra with Sunshine Yoga

Frequent yoga practice is a great way to open the heart chakra and welcome love into your practice and lives. Here at Sunshine Yoga, our teachers will be hosting a number of classes focused on guiding students through heart opening yoga poses as part of our ‘May the Love Be With You’ social media challenge. To enter this challenge and have a chance to win a monthly yoga pass to our studio, we’re requesting that students post a photo of their heart opening pose of the day on our FaceBook page. Our classes are a great way to get involved with our community-focused studio and truly open your heart chakra. Check out our range of great classes on our website. We hope to see you in the studio soon!